Day 1: San Ignacio
You will land at Philip S.W. Goldson Airport in Belize City. While you are already on the mainland, it is a good idea to head West to the gorgeous town of San Ignacio. There are a few different options for getting to San Ignacio: you can catch a taxi from the airport to the main bus station (BZ$50; $25USD) and from there hop on a bus headed for Benque (BZ$8; $4USD). Alternatively, you can arrange to get a shuttle service from the airport which will typically run you $70-$120USD.
Day 2: San Ignacio Town
There is a ton of stuff to do in and around San Ignacio Town. Honestly, I would say you could easily spend a week just here alone. But for the sake of this blog post, I will focus on the big ticket items:
Tikal (Yax Mutal)
This is a very large Maya ruins site that is actually located in Guatemala, but definitely should be at the top of your list to see when visiting San Ignacio Town. This is a massive archaeological site and will take you most of the day to explore (including the 2 hours travel time there and back). Tikal was most definitely a political superpower in its time and recent discoveries have shown that it took the joint forces of Caracol, Xunantunich and Mexico’s Calakmul, to bring down the powerful Tikal. This history of this city-state goes back to roughly 800BC and it was among the largest city-states in all of the Americas. There is evidence to show that its influence extended throughout the Maya area.
Personally, I feel the best way to visit Tikal is with a tour company. They make the border crossing a breeze, the trip is direct and then you have a tour guide while you are actually at Tikal. A guide will absolutely come in handy as there is so much to see and learn. If you had a rental car, I suppose you could drive yourself, but be really careful that you are clear on your rental car policy. You may not be able to take it out of the country. The bus takes about 5.5 hours, each way, with many stops and transfers. So if you are planning on taking the bus, you will likely need to spend a couple nights in Guatemala.
Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM Cave)
Without a doubt this was my favourite activity in Belize. It was my first time ever in a cave and I will always remember it! This excursion must be done with a tour guide so you will have to find one that suits you best, in San Ignacio. This is a full day adventure so be prepared with water, snacks, good shoes that you can get wet, socks, your swimsuit, an extra set of clothes, and a good hearty breakfast! Don't worry though, your tour company will tell you everything that you need to have ready for this amazing day.